Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spiritual Warfare and Ideas

I was reflecting on the content of my previous post on the philosophy behind Islamic terror and saw the parallel with one particular passage of the Bible that instructs on spiritual warfare.

2 Cor 10: 3-6 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled"

To translate this passage in terms of the 'war on terror', we could say that the real war against Islamic fundamentalists are not according to the flesh (launching missiles, sending in ground troops, or even UN sanctions and weapons inspectors), but it is about casting down arguments (their fascist philosophy, inspired by Qutb and his commentaries on the Koran), and anything else that stands against the freedom inspiring Biblical worldview. The worldview that has inspired western democracy and freedom of conscience, that the Islamic world finds so contemptible. It is about bringing your thoughts or beliefs into captivity to the obedience of Christ that will promote self sacrificial behaviour and esteem for reasoned argument (if you don't belief this then go to 1 Thess 5:21 "Test all things; hold fast what is good", this is the spirit of the scientific method, every thing must be put to the test before we believe it), instead of bigoted close mindedness.

Thus for me at least, Berman's thesis seems to vindicate what the Bible said 2,000 yrs ago. The real war is waged at the level of the intellect, a war over people's hearts and minds. John Maynard Keynes is famous for saying "ideas shape the course of history." The great reformed Theologian J. Gresham Machen has said this about the power of ideas

"What is today matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires."

Now wouldn't it be great if the international community recognised this? Instead of endless UN Resolutions and negotiations (that usually go nowhere), we ought to take the battle to where it really matters. The west needs to deploy its academics (well those not in bed with leftist ideology anyway) to a war of another kind, one that supports and legitimizes the military war already being fought.


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